Ahead of the final round of negotiations in the joint drafting committee for the Lokpal Bill on Monday and Tuesday,Congress president Sonia Gandhi has sent a four-line reply to Anna Hazares letter to her.
She has chosen not to react to Hazares elaborate complaint about Congress leaders calling him a mask of the BJP reminding him instead of her earlier letter in which she had told him she did not support smear campaigns.
I received your letter dated June 9,2011. Since I was not in Delhi,I could not reply to your letter. In the meantime,you have also made it public. I will get information in this regard. As far as the questions about the issues raised in the letter are concerned,I have already made my views clear in my letter dated April 19,2011, Sonia wrote in the letter sent to Hazare on Saturday.
Hazare had alleged a conspiracy by government functionaries and party leaders to malign him by making false allegations.
In her April 19 letter,Sonia had said,As for statements appearing in the media,let me assure you that I do not support nor encourage the politics of smear campaigns.
She had reminded him that the Lokpal Bill was being deliberated upon by the National Advisory Council (NAC),which had been holding consultations with people closely associated with you,until the NAC was overtaken by subsequent events (Hazares fast).
Government sources indicated that tomorrows meeting could be acrimonious,as ministers on the joint drafting committee intended to make public the minutes of the last meeting,at which Hazares side had apparently agreed to many of the suggestions by the government side before doing a volte face to the media.
Team Anna had emerged from the meeting on June 15 to declare that the government had already made up its mind and that the meetings were a sham.
Sonias brief reply to Hazares letter was sent on the day the Congress Core Group decided to convene an all-party meeting over contentious issues in the proposed law,like the inclusion of the Prime Minister and higher judiciary in the Lokpals ambit.
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat today said that the government should first circulate the draft of the Bill before calling the all-party meeting. The position of the left parties is that first they should send us the draft. Let us study what they propose to bring in the bill, Karat told The Indian Express.
The draft must be shared,otherwise it does not make any sense,Karat said.